Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) is one of the largest resettlement agency in the United States. It was originally founded in 1939 and partners with Lutheran resettlement organizations including ones in Twin Cities and St. Cloud.
In a surprise move, Krishani O’Mara Vignarajah will be the first non-Lutheran to lead the religious organization in the nonprofit’s 80-year history.
The Star Tribune reports the LIRS board chairman Michael Rinehart defended the decision saying “In the wake of unprecedented challenges to U.S. refugee resettlement and immigration policy, the LIRS mission — to protect, embrace, and empower those we serve — is more crucial now than ever.”
Maureen Warren who oversees immigrant and refugee services at Luther Social Service of Minnesota also defended the decision to the Star Tribune saying “Her background as a refugee herself could also be very valuable in her work and leadership on refugee issues,” said Warren, chief family services officer at LSS. “We’re looking forward to working with her.”
On the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota website the nonprofit offers many services to refugeed including
- When the U.S. Department of State offers the Family Reunification option, we can help refugees file family reunification forms, such as Affidavits of Relationship (AORs).
- Some refugees who are single or married without children and need additional financial help to gain self-sufficiency may be eligible for Refugee Cash Assistance during the first eight months after their arrival to the United States.
The new president Krishanti O’Mara Vignarajah has extensive experience in Democrat politics even before her role as a policy director with Michelle Obama. She additionally worked as a senior adviser under former Democrat presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
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